Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Potty Boot Camp Success!

She has always loved her potty...notice the stickers!
As many of you probably already know, Piper has been using the potty since she was 11 months old. Lucky for me she took right to it the very first time she sat on it, and that may be because she picked it out herself.  Even though she uses the potty daily and consistently, she still has not been quite ready to make the transition from diapers to big girl panties.  I tried several times over the past several months to do so, but every time I'd put her in panties she would immediately wet herself, even though she could keep a diaper dry all day most of the time.  Mostly, I think this was due to lack of communication skills and no real understanding on her part of the difference between panties and diapers, besides maybe the material they were made of.  In the past month or so, however, her conversational skills have grown by leaps and bounds.  She can actually carry on a full conversation now.  While it may not be up to Shakespearean prose quite yet, it's still a conversation with meaningful dialogue and very expressive speech with immense understanding.  Once she reached this point, and we were able to discuss things on a deeper level with her understanding all that I was saying, and vice-versa, I knew she was finally ready to make that oh-so-exciting transition to panties once and for all.

Wearing her big-girl panties!
Since I took an extra three days of vacation around the Thanksgiving holiday here at work, which means I had nine days total to accomplish my goal, I decided to host a potty training boot camp for her to help with this trnasition.  I knew Piper was going to need her mommy during this time and that it would take a lot of work, but guess what?  It did work!

I started off by sitting her down and discussing what exactly the potty boot camp was all about, then we went and she picked out some new panties at the store, and she immediately took to wearing them with no accidents.  I also began giving her two stickers on her potty board for every potty she took while keeping her panties dry.  By the second day, she was insulted when I tried to put diapers on her for naps and bedtime.  So to overcome that little bump, as I was not about to let her sleep in panties just yet, I told her the pull-ups that had been sitting around forever were her special nighttime/naptime panties.  I don't believe in the use of pull-ups as a potty training method.  They absorb too much, don't let the child feel the wetness, and in my experience back when I taught preschool, they always seemed to immensely slow down the training process.  I actually did try them with Piper at one point, to see if I was by chance wrong about my ideas on them, but she actually wet them more than diapers...hence why I had old pull-ups lying around not being used.  Piper completely understood this idea and she immediately stopped fighting about wearing more protective panties for sleeping, yay for quick mom thinking!!!

Notice the outfit...shirt, leg warmers, socks, and panties!
Since she started boot camp, we've had only seven accidents, one of which was due to too much tickling and rough-housing with one of her cousins, so I don't count that one.  The others occurred when trying to put regular clothes over her panties.  Right now we are still in the warm shirt, leg warmers, panties, and socks mode.  For some reason, Piper is more aware of her need to pee and staying dry when there are no other clothes covering her panties up.  I'm not exactly sure why, but we're sticking to this method for a bit longer.  I will say that while out Thanksgiving grocery shopping, which was on the third day of boot camp, that although I put her in a diaper to be on the safe side, she was dry when we took a mid-shopping potty break and dry when we got home...we were out for over four hours!  I was amazed that she had no accidents during this time, but she's always been pretty good about keeping her diaper dry most of the time.

I guess at this point I should mention poop.  Piper took to pooping in the potty at ll months, too.  She has since only had a handful of poop accidents that were her fault, and a few others that were due to not reading her signals correctly.  I'm proud to say that she has had no poop accidents in her panties at all!

Seems panties give her the freedom to play in her curtains!
And of course I had to get an "artistic" shot!
She really does love "hiding" in the sheers
and looking out her big picture window!
So you may be wondering about my methods during this process.  The #1 thing was setting a 30-minute timer to remind me to take her to the potty on a regular basis (I've since expanded the length of this timer to 40-45 minutes depending on time of day and her intake of liquids).  Plus, she could hear the timer go off and know it was potty time.  Also, during potty breaks, she got to watch Olivia, her favorite TV show ever.  It's about all she wants to watch, which is fine by me.  Thank goodness for DVRs! Plus, the extra incentive of additional stickers on her potty board helped a ton.  She had been getting potty stickers, first on her actual potty and now on potty boards, since the first time she used the potty. They are a great bribery treat, and I'm not against bribery.  Every once in awhile I'll also allow her to have a piece of candy, such as a Dum-Dum sucker or a couple of pieces out of a Smarties package, but the stickers work best and are way more healthy for her, obviously.  She loves being able to pick out which stickers to put on her board, and she is quite meticulous about which ones she wants and where she wants to put them.  At times she has drawn this task out to 20 minutes or so while contemplating the perfect position for each sticker.  She's very much into grouping things right now, and now also does not like to overlap stickers.  It's a funny thing to watch her thought process during sticker placement time.  She knows exactly what she's doing and I so wish I could read her mind and know what she's thinking, because sticker choosing and placing is some serious business with a definite artistic quality about it.

Piper picking out stickers for her potty board on Thanksgiving...
She stayed dry the entire day in her new outfit!
Proper placement is oh so important!
So is picking out the proper sticker!
Remember the potty from earlier?  It ran out of room for more stickers.
Now she has one full potty board and another one getting there very quickly!
Since I have returned to work, I am proud to announce Piper has continued to keep her panties dry for her Nana and Papa during the day.  I was so afraid she would protest me returning to work and backslide, but she's been awesome!  She WANTS to wear panties now, and that is the greatest feeling of accomplishment you could possibly imagine from my end...and I'm sure from her end as well..  In the end, I didn't meet my 17-month goal of fully potty trained into panties, but I'll take 19 months any day.  I'm so glad Piper is not in a preschool and has full-time care with my parents during the day.  I know no preschool would bother taking a 19-month-old to the potty nor take the time to keep a consistent schedule at this beginning stage, so here's to being at home where she can accomplish goals that typically take other children longer to achieve.  I'm very lucky that way, we all are.

Playing in her new crib converted toddler bed!
And as an added bonus to her getting stickers, I almost forgot to mention this although you probably noticed the bed in the pics, I turned her crib into a toddler bed to celebrate her new big-girl self.  She is so excited about her big girl bed that she actually took a nap in it, something she would never do in her crib.  An extra bonus for me is that it makes her room look bigger and even prettier than before. When she first climbed into it she kept saying "I happy."  Nothing makes a mama more proud than seeing her little ones facing glowing with glee.  And now maybe I'll finally get some use out of that $2500 crib that's just been sitting there with the cats using it as a very expensive kitty bed!  Don't judge me on that price tag, I know it's excessive but I waited a long time for Piper and knew I would never have another child, so she was and still is well worth every penny spent on her nursery.  And now she finally loves it like I do!

I just love the in-the-middle crawl space!
And she sleeps!  That's a tiny miracle right there!
Well, once again that about wraps things up for the time being.  I do have another post that I'm working on that expands from Halloween on through Thanksgiving, but it's been a slow process on that one.  It was so much easier to get writing accomplished when Piper was non-mobile and my workload was a lot less.  But hey, I do what I can when I can and sometimes it's more and sometimes it's less.  I'm sure all you mothers out there know exactly what I mean!

Last but not least, the cutest laugh ever in her new bed!

As always, I thank you all for being patient between posts and dropping by to visit my little space on the Internet.  Piper thanks you, too.  Speaking of Piper, don't forget to vote for us over at Top Mommy and Top Baby blogs and visit our other social media sites.  Have a great week and I'll be back hopefully sooner than later!

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Piper's First Road Trip and Flea Market Adventure

I meant to get this post written right after our return from the road trip we took weekend before last, but I didn't...bu I am now.  Truth be told, besides my usual business, I've been trying to catch my mom up on watching The Walking Dead so I can begin the new season already!  Just 9 more episodes to go and she'll be all up to date.  Although I have already seen all previous episodes, she insists we watch them together and refuses to watch them alone, like I did, in bed, on the laptop, after the wee-one had gone to bed.  No, she's not a scarred of the zombies, she just likes the company and the conversations that go along with watching the show together.  In other words, she likes to continually ask me what's going to happen next since I've seen it all before.  And she continually gets shot down because she has to wait just like I did to see what happens next!  But yeah, besides taking up a lot of my free time, that really has nothing to do with the trip we took the other weekend or this post, hehehehehe.  So, on to the point...

My dad got a wild hair up his bum and decided we should take a little overnight road trip to go flea-marketing.  Flea-marketing is something we have always enjoyed, and add a bonus overnight stay and who can resist, right?  So, we packed up our gear, headed out early Saturday, well early for us that is, and hit the road for some fun.  We actually didn't travel all that far from home, just a few hours at best, but part of the adventure was letting Piper enjoy staying in a hotel room, her second time only for such a treat.  While this time we weren't in a five star joint, it was still fun to watch her light up with the prospect of being somewhere completely new.  And surprisingly, she also handled the driving pretty well.

We have yet to take on her on any long trips for fear she would act like a wholly terror in the car. You just never know what a toddler is capable of while on the road until you try, so this was also a test to see if she would enjoy the car ride, scenery, eating out, and behave in an acceptable fashion as to not make us want to leave her at the nearest truck stop.  Needless to say, she was a little angel the whole time!

She never complained during the whole trip, even when eating out she acted relatively respectable. We've had a few issues lately where we've tried eating out at times when she was just too worn down, and we ended up having to get our food to go.  I am not one of those parents that will just sit there and let my child throw a fir or cry while others are trying to enjoy their dining experience.  It's my responsibility to remove the tired toddler from the restaurant and just suck it up.  It's par for the course when you have a little one and you can never predicted when a smile can turn into a very loud complaint, which usually stems from exhaustion, teething, bad timing, etc.

She did not eat like this for a change!
The first place we dined is a Southern staple, Western Sizzlin'.  Now, when you are out in small-towns in the South, your dining choices become very limited to mostly fast food and maybe a chain or two mixed in with some mom and pop places, if they are still open.  We figured this choice in restaurant was a safe bet.  Lots of food choices for her (salad bar, all the other food bars, desert bar) and she could eat free.  Piper loved having all those choices, but surprisingly her favorites came from the salad bar. Actually, that's not that much of a surprise since she loves raw veggies.  Cucumbers, pickles, tomatoes, cottage cheese, various fruits...those were her go-to items.  She tried other things, but those things always make her happy.  I tried to get her to eat a frog leg, but that she wasn't quiet ready for just yet. I'm glad she stuck with the more healthy selections that she's used to eating, good girl!

After eating, we went to the hotel room for the night as the flea markets in the area close at 5 and we didn't have time to shop until the next day.  Piper loved staying in the hotel room.  She especially enjoyed being rolled back and forth across the floor and spun in circle in the desk chair.  This was like her own little amusement park ride.  She also did very well using the big potty, yay!  We ran off an forgot her potty chair, but luckily I keep a padded one that fits on big potties for public restroom use in her diaper bag.  She used it like a pro all weekend and actually took her first poop in the big potty, a feat that I am very proud of!

Working on her first big-potty poop!
Nothing is sacred around these parts!
Telling us all about it!
Even when she poops she's adorable!
After a fun night playing in the hotel room and cuddling in a remarkably soft bed, it was time to set out on our shopping adventure.  But first, breakfast!  Since we hadn't run across one of these in forever, we ate at the local Huddle House.  Once again, Piper was on her best behavior, for the most part, as it was her first time in a booster seat instead of a high chair and she was very curious about all objects on the table.  I tried to get her to eat some french toast with strawberries on them, but she only picked at these and opted for her usual eggs instead.

After breakfast, we hit our first flea market.  We decided it would be best to keep Piper in her stroller as flea markets can have a lot of breakable items laying around, along with a lot of sharp and dangerous tools, but she didn't mind being cooped up.  She enjoyed all the sights and people watching, and people admiring her, too.  This first market is where we found her a few children's books, one of which was from my childhood and I could not remember the name, only the exotic artwork of strange birds.  I had actually been ransacking my brain for over a year or so trying to find or remember the title to this book.  Low and behold I pulled it right out of a massive collection of books in one booth.  It's in horrible condition, but for $1 I purchased it anyway and can now search for a better copy online since I have the title and author.  It was kismet, for sure!

We also found Piper an awesome purple Hobby Horse, which she adores!  And for myself, I have this desire to discover odd and/or old board games.  As luck would have it, I found one title Awkward Family Photos board game.  Oh yeah!  It was still in it's plastic wrapping and I cannot wait to play it with my nieces next time they stay over.

Totally freaking awesome, right?!
We all managed to find something at this market, but soon it was time to leave and head to the next one.  We had spent so much time in the first one that we almost didn't stop at a second because Piper fell asleep in the car cuddled up with her new horse.

Sleeping with her new Hobby Horse!
Luckily, she awoke just as we came across one on our way home that looked rather interesting.  I am SO glad we stopped at this one.  Number one reason, they had vintage clothes!  I bought a wonderful, velvet vintage Cloche hat ($25) and perfect condition Guess winter coat ($30) along with a very nice long, black skirt that will go perfect with my sweaters this winter ($6).  My mom also found a few items she liked in the clothing department, as we are both addicted to vintage and/or retro clothes at a bargain.

Besides the clothes, I also found Piper an adorable hand-painted wooden and wicker kids chair.  She loves her new chair and drags it around the house.  She also likes to sit backwards in it and topple over backwards on purpose.  She definitely knows how to amuse herself.  I'm thinking we got something else, but for the life of me I cannot remember what, which means it probably was not mine or Piper's.  But all in all, I was very happy we decided to stop at this shop as it was a hidden gem!

You can barely see the chair, but she is sitting on it!
After this final shop, we headed home to rest before beginning the new week.  Piper was a doll and behaved the entire ride home.  I consider the trip a success story of her ability to handle longer road trips.  I so want to take her to the aquarium in Dallas, so that will most likely be where our next adventure is heading.

And as for now, I'm wrapping up this adventure so that I may be ready to write about the next one occurring tomorrow...the Pumpkin Patch!  It's the same one we visited last year, which you can read about in my post Pumpkins, Pig Races, and Hayrides...Oh My!  It was a great adventure last year, but this year Piper can walk!  I imagine she will be running wild and I'll be snapping pics.  We're taking her cousins Larkin and Haven with us.  In addition, my friend is going to be there with her family and little boy who is about a year older than Piper.  I imagine they are going to have so much fun together as Piper very rarely gets to play with kids her own age.  So definitely stay tuned for that post, as it should be a awesome!

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And if you stuck with everything, here are a couple more pics of Piper with her new Hobby Horse taken at home!

She's a cutie-patootie!
Now go and enjoy your weekend, and as always, thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Dirt is Good for the Soul

Piper has officially burst into full toddlerhood!  How do I know this?  She has discovered the wonders of dirt!  I mentioned her discovery of dirt in a previous post not too long ago (The Perfect Day), but I was unable to take any pics of her new discovery.  Well, it's probably best because she has upped her dirt game since then!

Whenever the weather is nice, we all like to sit out back on the deck and have family time.  Besides just sitting around, this time also includes wandering around the yard, picking tomatoes and whatever other veggies are growing this season.  This year it's just accidental tomatoes...thank you bird poop! My dad is the usual veggie grower, but this year he had total knee replacement surgery and was down during planting season.  But the birds were kind to us and pooped some tomato seeds in another area outside the usual garden and voila, surprise tomatoes!  Besides picking tomatoes, we also have a couple of fig trees that the birds and raccoon's have not yet demolished completely this year, so we have those to pick, too.  But really, all of that is beside the point, let's talk about dirt!

Since the usual vegetable garden is nothing but soft, dry soil this year, Piper discovered that it's a wonderful place to sit and play.  She throws dirt in the air, puts it on her head, pretends (so far it's just pretending) to eat it, puts it in mama's hair, and generally just bathes in it from head to toe.  I really cannot wait to discover what she can do with mud.  If she thinks dry topsoil is fun, she's going to love muddy puddles!  In case you didn't catch it, that's a reference to Peppa Pig, one of her favorite shows. Everyone likes jumping up and down in muddy puddles. Don't ya know?

I was lucky enough this time around to get some pics of Piper playing in the dirt.  I also remembered to take a video of what she left behind in the bathtub afterwards.  There was so much dirt in her hair she looked like a brunette.  I also had to pull out the extendable shower head.  Thank goodness for mobile ones with a long reach, because the dirt was not coming out of her hair by simply pouring water over it via a cup.  We had to bring out the big sprayer, which she thoroughly enjoyed as it was her first time under the shower nozzle.  It took quite a few rounds of high-powered rinsing to begin seeing her blonde locks again.  She was truly filthy as humanly possible!

So, without further adieu, I give you Piper in dirt!

Seriously contemplating what next to do with dirt...
Discovering the various items embedded within the dirt...
This year we had Doodle-bugs in the dirt!
Feels so good running through the fingers!
She did this over and over again...
oftentimes right over the top of her head, too.
Slamming the dirt down with force is equally enjoyable!
Checking to see if anyone is looking...
Maybe just a quick taste?
Believe me when I say her hair got worse than this!

I'll wrap things up with the dirty-tub video.  I really am astonished at how absolutely filthy she was! Dist even fell out of inside her socks and her diaper.  She loves bath time, so she lucked out having a second bath before her dinner.

Seriously Dirty!

Well, I knew this wasn't going to be a long blog, and I was right.  I've decided to try writing some shorter blogs between the longer ones so that I maybe that will help me balance my blogging, family life, and very hectic work life.  This moment was too precious not to write about, and I look forward to Piper's next new fantastical discovery!

Until then, please drop me a vote via the links below and visit my other social sites!  Take care and happy Friday, woohoo!!!!

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